We caught up with Chef Chris to ask him about what it was like to prepare a dinner at the James Beard House last month. Here are his impressions.
The first thing you notice about the James Beard House is that it's a very unique building. It's exactly as it was when James Beard was there himself. From the front, it's just an unassuming brownstone with a tiny plaque. The place oozes history. It's full of tons of books and menus. They had me autograph stuff for documentation.
The kitchen was bigger than we expected, and really nice. The cupboards were full of all kinds of oils and spices that previous guest chefs had left. They have an incredible spice rack. And the equipment - there were small wares galore, it was out the window. It got hot in there, but I enjoyed it. I don't like the cold.
New Yorkers aren't as bad as people make them out to be. The crew was great. It was a mellow environment to work in. Of course, it helps when you're prepared, which we were. All seven of our boxes and coolers arrived safely, although the TSA opened some of them, looking for explosives. I did a menu chat with the service staff, which we don't always have time for here. It's a very professional environment. It was a whirlwind doing the dinner push. It was the biggest dinner they'd had in two months.
Other than all that, it was just like cooking dinner. Overall it was just really fun and mellow. Now I know I can perform a dinner 3,000 miles away.
And then I was on CBS news - a reporter was interviewing passersby about a controversial billboard. We can't even walk down the street in Manhattan without getting mentioned in an article!